February 20th may be known around the country as President’s Day, and February 14th celebrated as Valentine’s Day. But as February draws to a close, it can be beneficial to remember that this month also marks National Children’s Dental Health Month! This is an initiative pediatricians and dental care professionals have created to help remind parents of the importance of children’s dental care, and also to educate kids about the importance of caring for their own smiles. So, before February is over, make sure you take time to talk with your kids about the importance of dental health.
Fun Ways to Honor NCDHM!
If your children are overdue for a dental checkup and cleaning, why not schedule an appointment for February or March? Regular checkups and cleanings are essential to protecting one’s oral health, since they allow a dentist to remove plaque buildup, often before it can lead to enamel erosion.
Most dentists recommend bi-annual cleanings. However, kids prone to cavities may actually require more frequent cleanings.
What Else Can You Do to Protect Young Smiles?
You can also help get your kids excited about caring for their smiles between dental visits, by allowing them to pick out a new toothbrush and toothpaste the next time you visit the store. Just look for items that carry the American Dental Association’s seal of approval, so you can trust that they are going to be safe and effective, as well as fun.
Since it can sometimes be difficult for kids to remember how long to brush their teeth, invest in a small timer they can keep in the bathroom, or cue up a song that is two minutes long. Easy signals can help let your kids know when to start and stop their brushing, without you having to hover over them. (Keep in mind that young children do need supervision, to help make sure they don’t swallow toothpaste.)
Finally, a healthy diet is crucial to keeping smiles and growing bodies healthy. In addition to limiting sugar intake, one of the best ways to help your kids prevent cavities is by making sure they drink plenty of water, specifically tap water. In fact, drinking more tap water is this year’s NCDHM main initiative. That’s because tap water often contains fluoride, which helps to prevent demineralization of teeth!